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Summer 2003
Chairs of Distinction
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Chizuko Kawata Chair in Cardiology

Stephen Yeazell

AS THE CHIZUKO KAWATA CHAIR in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, James Weiss is studying cardiac arrhythmias — irregular heartbeats — which account for 300,000 sudden cardiac deaths each year and is the single-greatest cause of heart-related deaths.

Weiss’ research spans molecular, animal and clinical investigations and also uses computer modeling. “We have a virtual heart that can simulate abnormalities to produce these arrhythmias,” he says.

Weiss, who is chief of the Division of Cardiology and director of the UCLA Cardiovascular Research Laboratory, has held the Kawata Chair since 1991. The endowment has been a boon to his studies, he says, because it supports preliminary research that is necessary to gain larger research grants and to pursue new research directions.

For instance, Weiss wanted to understand if so-called “chaos theory” could be applied to gain insights into ventricular fibrillation, which is the type of arrhythmia that causes sudden death.

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